Winners of Outstanding Accomplishment Awards Announced

Annual Holiday Party 2016

December 14, 2016 | On Friday, December 9, many UCAR staff members and their families turned out for the annual EAC holiday party and awards presentation. Staff enjoyed a great meal, music, awards, and time to connect with colleagues. Three Story Limit a capella group kicked off the event in the main ballroom. UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi first presented a few highlights of 2016, recognized Delphi Coordinator Marc Genty with a Special Recognition Award, and remembered colleagues and friends that had passed away during the year. NCAR Deputy Director Michael Thompson then recognized our external award winners, followed by Busalacchi’s presentation of the UCAR Outstanding Accomplishment Awards. Following the awards ceremony, Events Services served a fabulous holiday feast and Acoustic Ambush took center stage with some great music to wrap up the evening.

Outstanding Accomplishment Award Winners

The full list of nominations appeared in Staff News on November 28. For details on the internal awards process, and archives of internal and external award winners from past years, see the Honors and Awards website.

Special Recognition Award Winner

Marc Genty (CISL)

Marc Genty has performed outstanding work as the volunteer coordinator of the Delphi service over the past ten years. He has repeatedly gone above and beyond with his commitment to coordinating Delphi all the while performing his regular duties as a software engineer in CISL’s Mass Storage Systems Group. The Delphi service provides an avenue for staff to ask questions confidentially. It also allows leadership the opportunity to be transparent, alleviate concerns, minimize disruption, and communicate specific details about how those concerns are being addressed. The questions and the answers, which are published online, provide a window into the areas of the organization that concern staff.

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Marc Genty accepts the Special Recognition Award. From left: Antonio Busalacchi, Marc Genty, Bill Kuo, Michael Thompson, and Melissa Miller. (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR.)

Mentoring Winner

Stan Solomon (HAO)

Stan Solomon of HAO was presented the Mentoring Award for his dedicated mentoring efforts that directly enhance the professional development of numerous scientists at all stages of their careers, from undergraduates to postdoctoral scientists and beyond. Throughout his tenure at NCAR, Solomon has provided guidance for seven postdoctoral researchers, including two within the last five years. He has directly supervised two graduate students and advised numerous more, including seven in the last five years. Five members of the AIM scientific staff consider Solomon a mentor and have benefited from his guidance over their careers, including advice within the last five years. Additionally, during his time in the senior leadership of HAO he mentored two administrative staff members who have since gone on to distinguished careers at NCAR.

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Stan Solomon accepts the Mentoring Award. From left: Antonio Busalacchi, Michael Thompson, Stan Solomon, Melissa Miller, and Bill Kuo. (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR.)

Education and Outreach Winner

Mark Miesch (HAO)

Mark Miesch of HAO was recognized for his supreme dedication to education and outreach. Miesch has dedicated much of his work, and private time, over the years in the dual areas of education and outreach while performing at high levels as a Scientist III. Miesch’s activities have very broad impact: from K-12 through graduate, from small-scale local events to regional science centers and global initiatives, developing novel observatory concepts to composing and compiling materials for television and film. Miesch has an infectious love for science and understanding and is an extremely effective science advocate.

Scientific and/or Technical Advancement Winners

Alan Burns (HAO), Ben Foster (retired HAO), Maura Hagan (Utah State University), Hanli Liu (HAO), Jing Liu (HAO), Gang Lu (HAO), Astrid Maute (HAO), Joe McInerney (HAO), Nick Pedatella (HAO), Liying Qian (HAO), Art Richmond (HAO), Ray Roble (HAO), Cheng Sheng(HAO), Stan Solomon (HAO), Wenbin Wang (HAO), Mike Wiltberger (HAO), Qian Wu (HAO), Binzheng Zhang (HAO), and Eric Sutton (Air Force Research Laboratory)

The NCAR Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Electrodynamics General Circulation Model (TIE-GCM) is a model of the upper atmosphere from approximately 100 to 500 kilometers in altitude. TIE-GCM is based on a long history of model development initiated by Ray Roble, Bob Dickinson, and Cicely Ridley, and carried on by Art Richmond, Ben Foster, and the Atmosphere-Ionosphere-Magnetosphere (AIM) section of HAO. The entire AIM section has been involved in its public release as an open-source community model and in the recent development and release of TIE-GCM v. 2.0. The new version supports higher resolution, extends to higher altitude, uses parallel computations for the electrodynamics, and produces a more accurate description of ionospheric structure. It is used by researchers in the university community and worldwide (129 related publications in the past 5 years) and is the basis for new development of a thermosphere-ionosphere capability in the NCAR Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model—eXtended (WACCM-X). Making the code stable, fixing problems, documenting, and enabling installation on a variety of platforms, from supercomputers to laptops, has been a major endeavor of the AIM section during the last several years, culminating in official release in March 2015. 

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Scientific and/or Technical Advancement Winners are presented their awards. From left: Bill Kuo, Antonio Busalacchi, Qian Wu, Nick Pedatella, Wenbin Wang, Gang Lu, Joe McInerney, Stan Solomon, Michael Thompson, and Melissa Miller (Not pictured: Alan Burns, Ben Foster, Maura Hagan, Hanli Liu, Jing Liu, Astrid Maute, Liying Qian, Art Richmond, Ray Roble, Cheng Sheng, Mike Wiltberger, Binzheng Zhang, and Eric Sutton). (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR.)

Outstanding Publication Winners

Y. Li (University of Saskatchewan) and Rit Carbone (Emeritus EOL)

Yanping Li and R.E. Carbone, Oct 2012, Excitation of Rainfall over the Tropical Western Pacific, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 69, 2983-2994.

“Excitation of Tropical Rainfall over the Tropical Western Pacific,” published in the October 2012 issue of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, won the 2016 Outstanding Publication Award. The initiation and variability of tropical oceanic convection has been, up until this point, not well understood, poorly forecasted, and represented inaccurately in weather and climate modeling systems. The authors of the paper provide a paradigm-altering view on this problem by analyzing local-scale (on the order of 100 kilometers) sea surface temperature (SST) gradients as the forcing mechanism for tropical convection. Their research is unlike most other studies on this topic, which examine larger, regional-scale forcing to determine the influence of SST on convective rainfall distribution.

The authors’ findings indicate that the onset of tropical rainfall occurs greater than 75 percent of the time on a localized convergent SST gradient, which coincides with mixed layer convergence. They also show that this local-scale forcing is an order of magnitude larger than regional-scale forcing provided by the SST. This allows the authors to conclude that localized gradients of SST are likely the cause of convective rainfall onset in the warm pool of the tropical Pacific. The implication of these findings on weather and climate forecasts cannot be overstated, and in fact, there are illustrative examples of how this process could lead to improved forecasts of extreme weather events. The impacts of these findings stretch beyond academia, as there are efforts underway to parameterize these features in operational numerical weather prediction models.

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Outstanding Publication Winners are presented their awards. From left: Antonio Busalacchi, Rit Carbone, Michael Thompson, Melissa Miller, Bill Kuo (not pictured: Yanping Li). (Photo by Carlye Calvin, ©UCAR.)

Rebecca Swisher, Internal Communications Specialist